First MID CityBeat Maya Tren Experience: The Pros & Cons of the Merida-Valladolid Ride

Today I took the Tren Maya for the first time from Merida to Valladolid. I figure enough time has passed to work out most of the kinks. All in all it was a really nice way to travel. I enjoyed the trip and was completely comfortable. I left and arrived on time to a tee and the installations were new, impressive and efficient. There was one annoying detail which I hope will be sorted out soon, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed my two hour adventure.

Time & Cost

  • It took me 23 minutes to get from the Merida Paseo de Montejo area to the Merida-Teya Train (without traffic). However, I would suggest going with plenty of time because lately traffic in Merida is very unpredictable.  
    • Didi/Uber/taxi ranges between $90-250 pesos depends on time of day
    • Tram leaving from Parque La Plancha is $45 pesos for tourists; $14, general rate; $5, students and seniors; while people with disabilities can ride free of charge. The ticket offices will be located at Paseo 60, La Plancha and Teya station.
  • You should arrive 30 minutes before the train leaves the station
  • From Merida to Valladolid on the Maya Tren 1 hours 45 minutes (to the minute the train was on time) 
    • for variety of ticket costs go here: https://reservas.ventaboletostrenmaya.com.mx/
  • From Valladolid station to Centro of Valladolid 20 minutes 
    • There is a bus you can catch for $35 pesos
    • A taxi can be called and the cost is $150 pesos

The Cons

  • I had bought my ticket online, it was easy. I bought a tourist class ticket as a “national resident”. $380 pesos (one way). I didn’t buy the local resident $253 (one way) simply because I don’t have an official ID with a Yucatecan address on it and at many other federal touristic places such as archeological sites or museums, there is a chance they only accept my permanent residency (of over 12 years) as national and not local. However, never do I have to pay as a foreign tourist…because well I am definitely not a foreign tourist and all federal offices recognize that. But when I got to the Merida station, they wouldn’t accept my ticket and told me they do not accept a permanent residency card and you should be charged as a tourist. So I was charged the difference making my one way trip to Valladolid $505 pesos.  This hasn’t been the case with other people I know who have traveled the Maya Tren on a permanent residency. So it looks like there’s still some inconsistency with tickets and policy. It’s a “depends on who your ticket agent is” kind of situation. Also the ticket agent said if I have a Yucatecan driver’s license, that would work to get a local rate. You can be a permanent resident and get a driver’s license so the logic here was shaky at best.  Anyway, hopefully they will quickly change that policy because it will deter permanent residents from riding if they are forced to pay basically double the price as a foreign tourist on vacation. 
  • There is no official train wifi so if you need wifi, you’ll need to wait until each station because there is not much coverage along the route. 

The Pros

The experience in and of itself was lovely really. We boarded 15 minutes early, we left on time to the minute. 

  • The train is on time and the ride super smooth
  • the a/c was excellent
  • the seats have plenty of room in even in the tourist class
  • The bathrooms are about twice the size of an airplane bathroom
  • all workers were extremely professional and helpful (except for the guy who told me I have to pay extra as if I were a tourist…he was slightly rude about it). **Note because this is a project run by the military, you will see mostly military officers working and some will be carrying big guns which can be intimidating. However, all the encounters I had with the officers were friendly and helpful. 
  • There are plugs and USB ports so you can charge your gadgets
  • They have a food and bar car and prices range between $50-$150 pesos for hot dogs, sandwiches, pizzas etc. They serve coffee and sodas and bagged snacks. I happened to travel on election day when dry law was invoked so I am not sure about the alcohol sale situation. I brought my own food and no one told me otherwise. Other passengers brought their food as well. 

Tourist Class vs Primer Class

I didn’t see much difference except there is slightly more space in primer class and some of the seats have an option of a table. But for short distances, such as my two hours from Merida to Valladolid, I would say save the money and just ride tourist class. 

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